Vision 2020: PTA forecasts all around growth in telecom sector

Study says investments in industry will reach $2.4b by 2020.

Omair Zeeshan August 22, 2011

KARACHI: Total investments in the country’s telecom sector will be $2.4 billion by 2020, a Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) study said on Monday.

The study, titled Vision 2020, forecasts that revenues in the telecom sector will be over Rs620 billion in 2010. It says that the number of mobile subscribers is expected to be around 161 million, approximately 89 per cent of the total population, by 2020.

The study says that the number of fixed-line subscribers will be five million in 2020 while the number of broadband subscribers is expected to be around 19.5 million.

A Telenor study conducted in May supports the results of the PTA study. With Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Telenor studied the overall impact of the mobile financial services and looked into the specific effects in Telenor’s Asian markets, including Pakistan.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Telenor Pakistan’s spokesperson and chief marketing officer, Aamir Ibrahim, said that he believed if the trend in the telecom sector continued, an increase of two per cent in Pakistan’s GDP was possible because of mobile financial services. “Money from the informal sector will be channelled into the system, adding to the circular flow of income,” he said.

However, he said that the revenue estimate of Rs620b was bullish. He said that the total revenues were Rs300 billion presently “So we are talking about doubling the revenue, but the subscriber base increases by 60 per cent only. The growth will happen when the price per unit continues to fall. So I think revenue projections are ambitious,” he said.

During the next ten years, improved quality of telecom systems and services will become a critical determinant of competitiveness in ICT, the study said. “The growth and development of ICTs today has led to their wide diffusion and application, thus escalating their economic and social impact across the countries,” it said.

Broadband 2.0 networks will eventually replace the current broadband networks. “Moving to these new networks offers the chance to increase efficiency and reduce operating costs in the longer term for network operators and broadband is a key tool to achieve these remedial actions,” it said.

The study says that mobile cellular technology has been primarily focused on the consumer market, acting as a substitute for often unavailable wired telephony. “Now visions of 4G and beyond, including established technologies such as WiMAX, are heralding the age of convergence.”

Published in The Express Tribune, August 23rd,  2011.

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